Resistance, Mastery, Agency: Improvising with the Feedback-Actuated Augmented Bass

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In this article I describe the development of a performance practice with a new electroacoustic instrument—the FAAB (Feedback-Actuated Augmented Bass). Drawing on a background in improvisation, I discuss how the feedback-induced behavior of the instrument sets it apart from an acoustic bass and how the implementation of operationally closed DSP algorithms facilitates greater systemic autonomy. In identifying resistance as a key feature of improvisation, I propose the term diachronic mastery as a way of addressing the equilibration of sensorimotor schemes in the context of developing a performance practice with a complex hybrid system such as the FAAB. Through a discussion of the term agency as it appears in recent literature, I develop a preliminary framework for addressing both the immediate experience of agency emerging in performance ecosystems as well as a biologically informed definition of the term that may be useful in the design of increasingly autonomous instruments and performance systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganised Sound
Early online date20 Aug 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Aug 2021


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